SportsDay Cowboys from The Dallas Morning News is a lively conversation about all things Dallas Cowboys. Each Thursday, our beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken (and frequent contributor David Moore) will bring you the biggest stories from inside the locker room and beyond. You’ll also hear interviews from Cowboys executives, coaches and current and former players. Join us as we explore and debate what makes the Cowboys the world’s most valuable, and interesting, sports franchise.
Cowboys free agency preview: Who stays, who goes and our top GM moves
After a short break, beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken are back with a new episode. To kick off the show, [1:45] Calvin and Michael reveal what they learned about the club’s free agency strategy at the NFL Scouting Combine. The guys then go down the list of Cowboys free agents and give their analysis of who will return and who will sign other teams. Dalton Schultz, Donovan Wilson, Leighton Vander Esch? All three could be departing soon. In our featured segment, [23:40] Calvin interviews NFL draft guru Bo Marchionte of college2pro.com. Bo provides his analysis of the top of the draft and grades Calvin’s mock draft pick for the Cowboys at No. 26. To close the show, [42:24] Calvin and Michael list their top priorities as if they were general manager of the Cowboys for a day.
09/03/2023 • 50 minutes 37 seconds
Our analysis of the Michael Irvin situation, Super Bowl LVII, Cowboys’ offseason
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [1:28] with a review of the big Cowboys news of Super Bowl week: an accusation of misconduct against former wide receiver Michael Irvin and his $100 million lawsuit in response. Calvin and Michael assess the unusual situation based on their experience covering Irvin through the years. The guys also give their Cowboys-related takeaways from the big game and dive into the looming financial decision the club must make regarding cornerback Trevon Diggs. In our featured segment, [20:22] Calvin and Michael interview Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington. The trio discusses the craft of writing, fatherhood and a little Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott for good measure. Kevin believes, or he hopes, the Joneses realize it’s time to move on from Elliott despite recent public comments. To close the episode, [44:28] the guys answer a listener question about the state of the Cowboys’ roster and discuss the
16/02/2023 • 53 minutes 11 seconds
Translating Jerry Jones on Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Cowboys’ Super Bowl drought
Beat writers Michael Gehlken and Calvin Watkins, who is back from assignment at the Senior Bowl, kick off this episode [1:45] by detailing their key takeaways from the week in Mobile, Ala. The Cowboys’ coaching shakeup shows that Mike McCarthy’s fingerprints will be all over the offense, Michael says. The guys decipher comments from Jerry and Stephen Jones about Ezekiel Elliott. Calvin calls the decision to trade Amari Cooper the biggest mistake of last offseason, while Michael says the Cowboys also erred by not preparing for the consequences of such a move. In our featured segment, [19:00] we listen and react to Calvin’s interview with Jerry Jones. The crew doesn’t buy into Jones’ explanation as to why Cowboys fans should have hope the Super Bowl drought is nearing an end. While Jerry says he believes Dak Prescott will be better next season, Michael says it’s up to the front office to provide him with more weapons. To close the episode, [32:00] Calvin and Michael discuss their la
09/02/2023 • 40 minutes
What coaching moves mean for Dak Prescott; is Trevon Diggs due a payday?
Staff writer Michael Gehlken kicks off this episode [1:52] by reviewing the Cowboys’ coaching shakeup. Out is offensive coordinator Kellen Moore plus the quarterbacks, offensive line and running backs coaches. The front office would never say it publicly, but Michael notes these moves make it clear QB Dak Prescott’s 2022 performance was not good enough. [5:50] Michael also examines whether it’s time to extend Trevon Diggs’ deal and how the Cowboys have missed on recent second contracts. With co-host Calvin Watkins on assignment at the Senior Bowl, [10:22] fellow beat writer David Moore joins Michael for our featured segment. Michael asks David about his scoop on Kellen Moore’s departure and Mike McCarthy taking over play calling. Michael also asks David about the future of Cowboys veterans Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott. To close the show, [29:15] Michael answers some questions from our listeners.
02/02/2023 • 36 minutes 4 seconds
Cowboys-49ers autopsy, free agent decisions, Ezekiel Elliott contract problem
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [1:45] with a detailed obituary for the Cowboys’ season. What are the key takeaways after the Cowboys were eliminated by the San Francisco 49ers for the second straight year? Calvin and Michael agree the Cowboys’ receiving corps was a season-long issue. [12:20] The guys don’t let QB Dak Prescott, who had two interceptions against the 49ers, off the hook. Calvin and Michael agree the clock is ticking for Prescott. [18:15] Calvin expects big changes on the defense, starting with coordinator Dan Quinn. In the second segment, [20:10] the guys list their most important free agents. Michael goes with running back Tony Pollard; Calvin says it’s safety Donovan Wilson, who is likely to depart this offseason. To close the episode, [29:15] we tackle the Ezekiel Elliott contract problem. Calvin says it’s time for Elliott to go, even though he’s willing to take a pay cut. Michael sees a path for an Elliott return, but it all
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken [1:53] begin this episode reviewing the Cowboys’ dominant win over the Buccaneers. Despite all of the positives, it seems everyone wants to talk about kicker Brett Maher and the four straight missed extra points. [7:30] The guys also discuss the physicality needed for the matchup with the 49ers, Dak Prescott’s dramatic improvement from Week 18 to the playoffs, and more changes along the offensive line. In our featured segment, [18:45] Calvin and Michael interview Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, who breaks down the 49ers for Cowboys fans and answers Calvin’s No. 1 question: Who the heck is Brock Purdy? To close the episode, [39:25] Calvin and Michael discuss running back Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the Cowboys. Michael says there is zero chance Dallas brings back Elliott under his current contract. Calvin agrees and wonders if this could be Elliott’s last game in a Cowboys uniform.
19/01/2023 • 52 minutes 15 seconds
Cowboys-Bucs playoff preview, predictions, and an interview with Babe Laufenberg
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [1:45] with a recap of the debacle in D.C. and what it portends for Monday’s playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys’ recent weaknesses showed in a big way against the Commanders. Can the Cowboys straighten out their running game or find a starting cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs? Can Dak Prescott curb his interceptions streak? Time is running out. On a positive note, [9:40] the guys explain how the Cowboys are getting healthy at the right time, with the expected returns of Johnathan Hankins and Leighton Vander Esch. Michael says the recent play of Chauncey Golston and Osa Odighizuwa is encouraging. In our featured segment, [19:45] Calvin and Michael interview Babe Laufenberg of the Cowboys Radio Network. Babe, a former Cowboys quarterback himself, says he’s not too worried about Prescott’s interceptions. To close the episode, [39:42] the crew answers a listener question about Micah Parsons’
12/01/2023 • 49 minutes 40 seconds
The Cowboys answered key preseason questions, but what about these playoff concerns?
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [1:42] by breaking down Sunday’s playoff scenarios for the Cowboys. [3:35] The guys also review how the team answered some of its biggest questions entering this season: Who will be the kicker? How will the receivers perform without Amari Cooper? And what about coach Mike McCarthy’s job security? There is one more week remaining in the regular season, but for the Cowboys it’s all about the playoffs. [22:34] Calvin and Michael pivot to examine the key questions for Dallas as it prepares for the postseason. Can the running game get back on track? Can the inexperienced secondary hold? Can the Cowboys clean up their ball security? To close the episode, [31:48] the guys field questions from our listeners. Will KaVontae Turpin ever see time at receiver? And why do so many people seem to dislike QB Dak Prescott?
05/01/2023 • 42 minutes 7 seconds
Micah Parsons’ usage rate, NBC 5’s Newy Scruggs, sun burned at AT&T Stadium
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [2:05] by looking at the immediate impact receiver T.Y. Hilton made during his debut against the Eagles. Is it sustainable? [6:35] The guys also discuss the Cowboys’ waning pass rush. Should fans be concerned, particularly about the heavy usage rate for do-everything linebacker Micah Parsons? [11:35] And what are the goals for the Cowboys in the final two games of the regular season? [16:13] In our featured segment, Calvin and Michael interview NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs, who shares his thoughts on the state of the Cowboys and the upcoming postseason. [34:38] The show wraps with a discussion about the sun glare at AT&T Stadium. Calvin and Michael agree that this problem is not going away, so it’s best for the coaches to figure out how to use it as a homefield advantage.
29/12/2022 • 45 minutes 35 seconds
Cowboys-Eagles preview, interview with NBC’s John Clark, answering your questions
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken go straight to the main event, [1:55] kicking off this episode with a preview of the highly anticipated Cowboys-Eagles matchup on Christmas Eve. [1:55] The Cowboys are dealing with adversity (and injury) after blowing a late lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Who will start at cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs? The crew examines the options. [6:50] The guys also discuss the differences between Eagles QBs Jalen Hurts, an MVP candidate, and Gardner Minshew, his backup who is expected to start Saturday. [10:18] And how worried should Cowboys fans be about Dak Prescott’s interceptions? Michael says he’s not concerned in the slightest. Calvin explains how some of these turnovers are the product of bad luck. In our featured segment, [16:08] Calvin and Michael interview John Clark from NBC 10 in Philadelphia about all things “Dallas week,” as it’s referred to in Philly. John explains what this rivalry means to Eagles fans, who he says are oft
22/12/2022 • 37 minutes 49 seconds
Injury concerns, Dak Prescott’s interceptions, interview with rookie Damone Clark
Beat writers Michael Gehlken and Calvin Watkins offer their takeaways [1:58] from the Cowboys’ narrow escape against the Houston Texans. The injuries are starting to pile up, with right tackle Terence Steele and nose tackle Johnathan Hankins out for the remainder of the regular season. Which area has been weakened the most by injuries: offensive line, the secondary or the run defense? Our guys discuss. [9:29]. The crew also examines QB Dak Prescott’s troubling ball security of late. Prescott has nine interceptions in eight games this season. In our featured segment, [18:05] Michael interviews Cowboys rookie linebacker Damone Clark, who recovered from spinal fusion surgery in the offseason to make his NFL debut. To close the show, Calvin and Michael go back to the Houston game. [34:53] Did the Cowboys “eat the cheese” before playing the lowly Texans?
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode reviewing the Cowboys’ improved offense since QB Dak Prescott’s return. The Cowboys appear to be building in advance of the playoffs, as opposed to last season when the offense fizzled out. And reinforcements are on the way, beyond the potential addition of free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The guys discuss OBJ’s visit with the Cowboys and break down the issues resented by Beckham’s knee injury. The arrow for the offense is pointing up, but there are questions about the defense, as cornerback Kelvin Joseph is thrust into the starting lineup.
In our featured segment, Calvin and Michael discuss the Cowboys-Texans matchup with Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon. Jerome explains how the Texans have fallen so far since they last faced the Cowboys. The guys also discuss their experiences covering a losing team and how to find interesting stories in a tough environment.
08/12/2022 • 42 minutes 53 seconds
Why so many penalties? Chances OBJ picks Dallas? What’s Ezekiel Elliott’s future?
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode by offering their takeaways from the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving victory against the NY Giants, beginning with the team’s continued penalty problems. How big of an issue it? Our duo also discusses the Cowboys’ unique use of four tight ends and what it means for Dalton Schultz’s future, plus the continued improvement by cornerback Trevon Diggs. In our featured segment, fellow beat writer David Moore joins Calvin and Michael to break down the NFC East race between Dallas and Philadelphia and the club’s continued pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr. Each member of our crew puts a percentage on Dallas’ chances of landing the much talked about free agent receiver. To close the episode, Calvin and Michael debate Ezekiel Elliott’s future in our I Disagree segment. Calvin is ready to move on from the longtime Cowboys running back. Michael says, because of Elliott’s contract, it makes sense to keep him around a little longer.
01/12/2022 • 38 minutes 39 seconds
We’re buying stock in the Cowboys in these areas; Micah Parsons’ turkey giveaway
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this special Thanksgiving episode with the latest on the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes. A decision could be coming soon. Next, we review the game in Minnesota, where the Cowboys kicked the stuffing out of the Vikings. Calvin and Michael say they are believers in the Cowboys’ running game, QB Dak Prescott and the Dallas defense overall, even though stopping the run could still be an area of concern.In our interview segment, Michael talks to special teams ace Luke Gifford, who explains the camaraderie between his teammates and coach John “Bones” Fassel. And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we forgo the I Disagree segment for a topic about which we agree: Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is making an impact in the Dallas-Fort Worth area off the
23/11/2022 • 30 minutes 53 seconds
Cowboys’ porous run defense, interview with WR Roy Williams, Pollard-Zeke debate
Beat writers Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode with a review of the Cowboys’ loss to the Packers, which exposed Dallas’ run defense as its No. 1 weakness. Can the Cowboys get it fixed? Dallas owner Jerry Jones and the coaches are confident, but our team says the jury is out.
We also answer a listener question about the recruitment of Odell Beckham Jr. and kicker Brett Maher.
In our featured segment, Calvin and Michael interview former Cowboys receiver Roy Williams, who now lives in Odessa. Williams shares his thoughts about the state of the Cowboys, specifically Jalen Tolbert’s offside penalty in overtime against the Packers and CeeDee Lamb’s status as a No. 1 wideout. Williams also talks about his post-career business venture, MVP vodka.
To close the episode, Calvin and Michael debate whether Tony Pollard should remain the starting running back over Ezekiel Elliott when Zeke returns from injury. Calvin has had a change of heart
Calvin and Michael kick off this episode [1:00] discussing the big story of the week — coach Mike McCarthy’s return to Green Bay. Listen as McCarthy gets emotional when asked by Michael what he misses most from his time in the frozen tundra. [6:42] Our beat writers then pivot to analyze whether the Cowboys should sign free agent Odell Beckham Jr. and what it might look like should the club land the high-profile wide receiver.
In our featured segment, [15:35] Calvin and Michael interview beat writer Bill Huber of PackerCentral.com. Huber believes McCarthy will get a warm reception Sunday and details the former Packers coach’s relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Huber also explains why it’s time for the Packers to start making offseason plans.
The final segment sees the return of I Disagree. [30:25] Michael argues the Cowboys could finish ranked in the top 10 in scoring and top three in defense for the first t
10/11/2022 • 41 minutes 31 seconds
Cowboys RB coach explains Tony Pollard’s usage, plus answers to your questions
The Cowboys are 6-2 at the bye week, a much-needed break for the team and, maybe, some beat writers. It’s also a perfect time to reflect. [1:02] Calvin and Michael kick off the episode by choosing what has impressed and disappointed them the most in the first half of the season. In our featured segment, [11:05] Calvin interviews Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete, who details his philosophy for splitting the workload between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Calvin and Michael close the episode [22:55] by answering your questions on visiting fans at AT&T Stadium, this season’s rookie class and the future of linebacker Jabril Cox. Find more audio from The Dallas Morning News at dallasnews.com/listen.
03/11/2022 • 33 minutes 33 seconds
The Cowboys’ need for speed, interview with Tim Cowlishaw, trade deadline debate
Beat reporters Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off this episode [1:10] discussing the importance of speed in today’s NFL. They break down both key plays. [6:44] Calvin and Michael also explain how the element of speed, as it relates to defending the running game, will factor prominently in the upcoming game against QB Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. In our interview segment, [9:08] SportsDay columnist Tim Cowlishaw joins his DMN colleagues to discuss memories of covering Emmitt Smith’s chase for the NFL rushing record, the Cowboys’ season thus far and his upcoming anniversary for ESPN’s ‘Around the Horn.’ Find more of our special audio at dallasnews.com/listen.
27/10/2022 • 34 minutes 31 seconds
Special report: Inside the week Emmitt Smith broke the NFL’s all-time rushing record
Cowboys beat writer Calvin Watkins takes us back 20 years ago, to the week Emmitt Smith surpassed Walter Payton to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. It was an amazing achievement for Smith, who grew up in Pensacola, Fla., dreaming he’d break one of the most cherished records in sports. In honor of Smith’s accomplishment, Calvin spoke to the people who lived it, from Smith himself to teammates Daryl Johnston, Darren Woodson and Chad Hutchinson. You will also hear from the men who tried to stop Smith and Payton’s son, Jarrett, who now has a special relationship with Emmitt. This episode contains explicit language, listener discretion is advised.
26/10/2022 • 27 minutes 13 seconds
Cooper Rush appreciation, Cowboys-Eagles takeaways, interview with Ben DiNucci
Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken begin the episode with a moment of reflection, pausing to review their favorite Cooper Rush moments during the five games played without quarterback Dak Prescott, who appears ready to reclaim his starting role. The conversation pivots to a breakdown of the unique play the Eagles used to exploit the Cowboys’ defense. Will other teams try to copy Philadelphia’s success? In our featured segment, Calvin and Michael interview former Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci, who made his NFL debut in 2020 against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Find more of our audio at dallasnews.com/listen.
20/10/2022 • 42 minutes 21 seconds
A defensive party in LA, interview with kicker Brett Maher, Cowboys-Eagles preview
Beat reporters Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken discuss the Cowboys' big victory against the Rams in Los Angeles. Jerry Jones was as happy as we’ve ever seen him after the win, and quarterback Dak Prescott explains the Cowboys’ growing confidence. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence talks about how multiple players are contributing on defense. Plus, kicker Brett Maher. After being cut during his first stint with the Cowboys, Maher has made 13 of 14 field-goal attempts this season. He talks about his new mental approach.The guys also preview the big Sunday night matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles, and discuss how the winner will be in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. Find more of our audio reports at dallasnews.com/listen.
13/10/2022 • 29 minutes 27 seconds
Dak Prescott on Gallup’s return, plus an interview with his brother, Tad Prescott
Dallas Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken discuss the Week 4 victory over the Washington Commanders. QB Dak Prescott, still recovering from his injury, talks with us about WR Michael Gallup’s inspiring play. Plus, podcaster Tad Prescott (“U Don’t Know Me Yet”) discusses life as the brother of the starting quarterback for the Cowboys. Find more audio from The News at dallasnews.com/listen.
06/10/2022 • 34 minutes 21 seconds
3: CeeDee Lamb’s redemption arc, the Cowboys’ fierce pass rush, Jason Peters’ impact
Calvin and Michael review the highlights from the Cowboys’ decisive victory against the Giants in New York, including receiver CeeDee Lamb’s in-game turn from goat to GOAT. From the winning locker room, [3:30] hear former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant talk about Lamb’s rebound performance and what it takes to be a member of the No. 88 club. Lamb wasn’t the only member of the Cowboys to redeem themselves Monday night. [4:20] Calvin explains how offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has successfully adjusted his play-calling since Week 1′s loss to Tampa Bay. [6:30] The crew also discusses the <a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/cowboys/2022/09/27/cowboys-defense-set-the-tone-in-win-over-giants-b
29/09/2022 • 34 minutes 45 seconds
2: Cowboys’ positives (Tyler Smith) and negatives (Jalen Hurts), plus a MNF preview
After an unlikely victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, led by backup quarterback Cooper Rush, Calvin and Michael discuss the positives and negatives to the Cowboys’ season thus far. [5:35] Should Dak Prescott, injured or not, still be considered the best quarterback in the NFC East? The strong start by Eagles QB Jalen Hurts could change the dynamic in the division.
In our featured segment, [9:32] Calvin and Michael preview the upcoming Monday Night Football game in New York with Giants beat writer Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. The Giants, yes the Giants, are 2-0 and tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East. Are they for real? Leonard updates Dallas fans on the new regime in New York, recaps the Giants’ first two games and offers a predi
22/09/2022 • 33 minutes 29 seconds
Jerry Jones ranks Cowboys’ opening flop, surgeon on Dak Prescott’s thumb injury
Calvin and Michael kick off Episode 2 with a review of the dismal performance by the Cowboys in Sunday’s season opener, a 19-3 loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [2:45] Calvin talks to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones immediately after the game. Was this the worst season-opening loss in the Jones era? Hear from the owner himself.
In our featured segment, [12:00] Michael interviews surgeon David Hay from the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan Jobe Institute. Michael and Hay, a hand specialist, discuss Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s fractured right thumb, including the type of fracture, recovery timeline and risk factors involved. Hay said he agrees with Dr. Jerry -- Jones’ eternally optimistic sid
15/09/2022 • 37 minutes 3 seconds
Cowboys vs. Brady, an interview with Tyler Smith, and debate about Parsons’ future
DMN beat reporters Calvin Watkins and Michael Gehlken kick off the debut episode of SportsDay Cowboys with a discussion about the latest team news and Week 1 storylines. [1:20] Do the Cowboys finally have the firepower to get the best of Tom Brady on Sunday Night Football? The Bucs quarterback and NFL GOAT is 6-0 in his career against Dallas. Calvin and Michael also discuss the signing of 40-year-old veteran tackle Jason Peters and his impressive beard, plus Jerry Jones’ unique interpretation of math. What does Jerry really mean when he says 1+1=3?
[9:50] Our featured segment is an interview with Tyler Smith, the first-round draft pick who is poised to become the first rookie left tackle to ever start a season opener for the Cowboys. Michael talks to Smith about his preparation for the season opener and how quarterback Dak Prescott’s leadership has helped his transition to the NFL.
[21:30] The podcast wraps up with our “I Disagree” segment. Michael makes
08/09/2022 • 31 minutes 50 seconds
1: Introducing ‘SportsDay Cowboys’ from The Dallas Morning News
In this special preview episode, Watkins and Gehlken talk about the show, how they got into sports journalism and why they love covering the Cowboys.
The show drops Thursday mornings in major podcast players such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Search for “SportsDay Cowboys” wherever you listen. Quick links to all of these feeds can be found on our audio landing page at dallasnews.com/listen.
The show also drops each Thursday in The Dallas Morning News flagship podcast feed, which you can find by searching for “The Dallas Morning News” wherever you listen.